DUBUQUE, Iowa -- The Simpson baseball team utilized well-executed small ball and a gutsy effort by the bullpen to beat Loras 9-7 in game two, helping the Storm earn a split in Friday's Iowa Conference opener.
The Storm (2-11, 1-1) lost game one 14-4 in eight innings.
"I am proud of how our players responded from a tough first game to come back and earn the split. It was great to see contributions from a variety of players in the win. The bottom of our lineup came through with some big RBIs and I can't say more about Tom Kunzer's performance closing the game out." — head coach Nathan Roling
The final game of the weekend series is schedule to be played Sunday at 2 p.m. in Dubuque.
GAME ONE: Loras 14, Simpson 4 (8)
The Storm got on the board first but a pair of errors in the third proved costly as Loras batted around in a six-run inning. A three-run homer by Brandon Urias pulled Simpson within 6-4 in the fourth but Loras responded with four more in the sixth to pull away. Tanner Jansen suffered the loss on the mound (2.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks).
Simpson stole the momentum with Urias' three-run shot in the fourth, then held Loras off the board in the fifth. But Danny Weis drove in two with a triple down the right field line and Ryan Koester hit a two-run homer to left two pitches later to give Loras a six-run advantage at 10-4. Weis finished 3-for-5 with two triples and four RBIs.
At the Plate
• Freshman Brandon Urias launched his first career home run in the fourth inning, pulling Simpson within 6-4. He finished 1-for-3.
• Catcher Truman Schmitt led the team at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one RBI and one walk.
• Jared Herzog reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.
On the Mound
• Tanner Jansen suffered the loss despite not allowing an earned run, falling to 1-2 on the season. He gave up six runs off of four hits in 2 2/3 innings, fanning two and walking three.
• Trey Kehoe gave up seven runs -- four earned -- off eight hits in four innings.
• Devon Veach and Jonathan Sailstad combined to pitch one inning in relief.
GAME TWO: Simpson 9, Loras 7
Trailing 5-3, Simpson scored four in the sixth to take a 7-5 lead. After Loras tied it in the sixth, Scott Meier drove in the go-ahead run on a groundout in the top of the seventh and Alec Hensley added an insurance run on a wild pitch. Simpson's bullpen held Loras to just two runs on five hits over the final 5 2/3 innings.
Noah Sacco and Trey Kehoe reached base to lead off the seventh before Brandon Urias moved the runners over on a sacrifice bunt. Meier put the ball in play with two strikes, allowing Sacco to score the eventual game-winning run.
At the Plate
• Tanner Jansen led Simpson at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. His double down the left field line scored two in the Storm's four-run sixth.
• Scott Meier went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, driving in the game-winning run in the seventh.
On the Mound
• J Lowery picked up the win in relief, giving up one run off one hit in 1 1/3 innings. He improves to 1-1.
• Lefthander Tom Kunzer got the save, shutting out Loras over the final 2 2/3 innings. He struck out two and allowed just two hits.
• Curt Castenson allowed five runs -- all earned -- off five hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out five in the no-decision.
• Cameron Liston came on in relief of Castenson, giving up one run off two hits in 1 2/3 innings.